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Bomber 'not sure' if players will admit guilt to ASADA

Good Friday Footy, Pies woes and more Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards have your Monday news hit


ESSENDON coach Mark Thompson says he doesn't know if some of his players will plead guilty to doping offences in order to receive sentence reductions.

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation chief executive Ben McDevitt has stated if Essendon AFL players are prepared to make admissions, they can potentially reduce any anti-doping bans from two years to six months.

Thompson told AFL 360 his players faced one of the most critical moments in their lives.

"I'm not sure," Thompson said on Monday night.

"Some people might think maybe that's the way out. Just get it over and done with.

"Some might just think ‘no I don't want to talk about any guilt at all, I wasn't guilty, I want to be found not guilty, I didn't cheat'."

Earlier on Monday, the AFL said the saga had dragged on too long but conceded there is a possibility it could continue into next year.
 
The 17-month long investigation reached a flashpoint last week when ASADA issued 34 current and past Essendon players with show-cause notices pertaining to the alleged use of banned substances.
 
Essendon chairman Paul Little has already declared his club will fight the notices, filing an application in the Federal Court against ASADA, alleging its joint investigation with the AFL is unlawful and in breach of the ASADA act.
 
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan acknowledged ASADA's process could run into 2015.
 
"I hope not. I think it's certainly a risk that everyone would like to avoid. But I think it's a possibility," he said.
 
AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the League understood the frustrations of those looking for an end point.
 
"This process has gone on too long. I'm extremely disappointed that the players are in this position," Fitzpatrick said on Monday.
 
"The interim report into the Essendon supplement program in 2012 outlined very serious breaches of our rules and it was clear that the program subjected our players to unacceptable risks and one of those risks is playing out now."


Fitzpatrick said the League would not give ongoing commentary about the Bombers' legal action but the Commission supported the players' right to explore such options.
 
"The AFL Commission believes the players must be given the space and support to pursue their legal rights," Fitzpatrick said.
 
"We support the role of the AFLPA in offering independent legal counsel for the players and we will continue to be in contact with the (AFL) Players' Association where appropriate.
 
"We understand the frustration of our supporters and the industry that this issue is still going.
 
"We acknowledge that ASADA has a job to do and we'll let that process run its course."
 
When asked whether the AFL had any plans in place to deal with a circumstance where players were banned under the ASADA code, McLachlan replied: "We think we're well prepared for where we are now and feel very confident that all scenarios are covered."